Gaming compacts: 'Legally flawed and sow more division than unity'

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt gestures during a news conference concerning the state's compact with the Oklahoma Tribes for gambling during a news conference Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019, in Oklahoma City. Stitt and the tribes are locked in an impasse over whether the 15-year agreements that give the tribes the exclusive rights to operate casinos in Oklahoma expire on Jan. 1. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

The Associated Press

Oklahoma GOP leaders disagree with governor over deal with two tribes

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt overstepped his authority when he signed gambling compacts with two tribes this week, House and Senate GOP leaders said in a joint letter to the governor on Wednesday.

House Speaker Charles McCall and Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat said the governor's inclusion of sports betting is one of several flaws they found in their review of the compacts.

"Sadly, the documents signed yesterday are legally flawed and sow more division than unity," the two leaders wrote. 

Stitt announced the new compacts Tuesday between the state and the Otoe-Missouria Tribe and the Comanche Nation. The compacts still must be approved by the U.S. Interior Department, and McCall and Treat asked the governor to refrain from submitting them, saying it would be "untimely, inappropriate and a waste of resources."

Oklahoma's Attorney General Mike Hunter said Tuesday he also believes the compacts are unlawful.

A spokeswoman for the governor's office didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

The disagreement is the latest indication of a deteriorating relationship between the Republican governor and the GOP-controlled Legislature. McCall and Treat sued the governor last week after a dispute over funding Stitt wanted for a state computer system upgrade.